George Baker was delighted as Destiny Queen made a winning debut in the John Guest Racing British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes at Ascot.
Baker’s Surrey yard is not known for winners first time out, and Destiny Queen was sent off a 28-1 chance.
But the daughter of Al Wukair travelled sweetly for Pat Cosgrave – and when Pulcheria dropped away, she pulled two lengths clear of Loquace.
Baker said: “We never over-cook our two-year-olds – and as a result, we do have an average record because of the way we do things, but then we have horses who go on and have lovely, long careers.
“This filly, it’s such a cliché, but she’s always been on my mind as a three-year-old. I just wanted to get experience into her, maybe just one run today because she’s got to grow into her frame.
“I’ve always loved her, and that is a massive bonus. I’ve been with Pat Cosgrave a long time, and he doesn’t get over-excited very often. But he was excited by that – as am I.
“I know this isn’t D-Day, which is why it’s exciting. I know what I hope she might be, but I didn’t expect to see it today. There are some nice targets for fillies like her, but we’ll probably put her away and run her in the Guineas!”
Richard Hannon won the Anders Foundation British EBF Crocker Bulteel Maiden Stakes for the sixth time in seven years as Ehraz justified 4-9 favouritism with the minimum of fuss.
A valuable race for its type, only horses who had not run more than once could chase the £11,000 first prize – and the result was never really in any doubt.
Jim Crowley had the armchair ride, and said: “He was pretty impressive. He’s a smashing horse.
“He’s by Showcasing, so will be just as effective on good to soft ground as well. He has a lovely temperament.
“When I rode him work early on he felt like a seven-furlong horse, but he’s getting quicker with racing.
“We’ve had some lovely Showcasings – and he’s another.”
Paddy Power gave Ehraz a 33-1 quote for next year’s 2000 Guineas.
Speedo Boy (8-1) had been winless on the Flat for three years since his victory in the John Guest Racing Brown Jack Stakes in 2018, but he clearly thrives at this time of year – and duly regained his title in this competitive handicap.
William Buick was determined not to let Silvestre de Sousa get loose on the front end, on bottom weight and favourite Star Caliber, and led two furlongs out en route to victory by two and three-quarter lengths.
Trainer Ian Williams said: “He hadn’t actually won for three years. He’s had a good hurdling career in the interim, but it’s great to have him back.
“He’ll probably come back for the Shergar Cup – he obviously likes it here.”
Mountain Peak (7-1) secured his ninth career win, in the nick of time when prevailing by a head in the Rotary Club Of Ascot Handicap.
Trainer Ed Walker, who also won the feature Valiant Stakes with Dreamloper, felt the race was set up perfectly for Mountain Peak – with Caspian Prince and Bedford Flyer going off like the clappers.
“God, they went fast but it was fun to watch – it was set up so well for him,” said Walker.
“He needs the ground as fast as possible, and he needs a good strong pace.”
Henry Candy’s Alfred Boucher (11-2) was rewarded after a string of consistent efforts when just edging out Grand Bazaar by a short head in the John Guest Racing Handicap.
“The trainer has finally realised he gets a mile and a half!” said Candy.
“He’s incredibly game, because he’s only a pony but he’s got a huge stride and a huge heart – and he wants to do it.
“He’s been unlucky a couple of times – the people that have ridden him have got a little too far back, and he just hasn’t quite got there, but David (Probert) gave him a cracking ride today. Hopefully the handicapper doesn’t go mad.”
Probert doubled up in the closing Berenberg October Club Supporting Cares Family Fillies’ Handicap, on the Michael Dods-trained Havagomecca (13-2).